Slow but steady

Jason Strudwick
January 17 2014 07:26AM

When Craig Mactavish took over as Oilers GM he said the Oilers needed to be harder to play against. Move by move he is slowly grinding this Oiler team in that direction.

Since taking over he has added Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, David Perron, Luke Gazdic and most recently Matt Hendricks.

This is a group of players that should make playing against the Oilers less enjoyable than it has been. Nearly every game this year, teams play against the Oilers and their teams trainers don't even bother turning on the ice machine. There is no need for ice bags. These games are not physical.

That had to change. The Oilers inability to challenge teams physically or even match it has been a big issue. Take a look at the Pacific Division! These are big heavy teams, with skill, that most nights push the Oilers around. I don't even want to think about the oilers matching up in a seven-game playoff series against the Kings or Blues! They would lose in three.

Hendricks is a player I thought the Oilers needed to bring in last summer. I have no issue with his cap hit per year. The cap will continue to go up and the Oilers are not in a cap crunch. The issue is the term. I wonder what Hendricks will bring in year four.

He is a physical player that should, I hope, help the oilers connect emotionally with their games. You can't win or have success in the NHL without passion and emotion in your game. This Oilers squad is vanilla basically to a man. There are a few exceptions but not enough. I hope Hendricks comes into the dressing room and stirs up the pot. On the ice, I expect him to chirp and drag other guys into getting pissed off!

Think back to when Yakupov got into it with basically the whole Winnipeg Jets team. It was beautiful! That is one of the few times I saw the Oilers bench on their feet and passion on the guys faces. There is no stat to measure the value of passion but I know it is so important to team moral and confidence. Without it, a team sleep walks through games.

There is still work to be done for MacT. He needs to find a way to bring in edgy players to the top six forwards. These players are hard to get. Sorting out the bottom six is the easier job but slowly the team is starting to get some heart.

Old Goalie out, New Goalie in

Does this even matter? NO. It doesn't.

The overall team defence hasn't changed for the Oilers. Why should we expect Ben Scrivens to come in and have more success? This isn't me saying Scrivens can't be a decent goalie. The facts are that any goalie with an Oilers jersey will see shots and chances against that he will not believe.

Scrivens has been playing behind the Los Angeles Kings and that group controls shots against as good as any team in the NHL. Scrivens is in for rude wakeup call here. He will need to be on his toes the whole sixty minutes.

I like the test drive that the rest of the season brings for the oilers to watch Scrivens up close. I am not convinced he is an upgrade on Dubnyk but we can all watch him close up and form an opinion. Keep an eye on his glove had. He holds it to high which makes most saves a downward motion instead of up. That is the harder way.

I see no reason why Scrivens shouldn't start the bulk of the games the rest of this season. I would expect that Bryz will not be back with the oilers next year. So far he has done nothing to suggest he is the man for the Oilers. I think the team will look to a potential UFA like Jaroslav Halak or Jonas Hiller or make a trade for a guy like Cam Ward. The backup will most likely by Scrivens. In other words: two new goalies to start next season.

I believe Dubnyk is a good goalie. He is the luckiest person in Edmonton right now. He probably skipped all the way to Nashville. The Predators have a history of building goalies. The Preds play a pretty good defensive game. Dubnyk will get a chance to work with Mitch Corn, the Preds goalie coach. He has had success with tall goalies.

Public Breakups

I witnessed a breakup at Starbucks this morning. In fact I had a front row seat and decided to live tweet it! Surrounded by 20 or so people this lady gave her man an outright release.

I don't normally get into other peoples nightmares but I was literally sitting right beside them. Once it started I couldn't stop listening.

This poor guy was dropped like he was hot over a double chai latte. I will give him credit he did fight for it but she wasn't buying his "I will change" or "You deserve better from me" lines.

She shut him down and was convinced a breakup was the right way to go. This is where it got painful to watch.

Judging by their conversation I would guess they hadn't been together long. But this guy was determined not to lose her! It was embarrassing to say the least. At some point shouldn't you just take your lumps and move on? Not this guy! It wasn't like Jen Aniston was breaking up with him.

In the end they both got up and gave the most awkward hug I have ever seen. she says "We will be in touch soon". From what I saw there is no chance that will happen.

What is the right way to break up with someone these days? I know for sure doing it at Starbucks at 9:30 AM is a very cold way to do it.

I guess it is better than by text.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 Hemmercules
January 17 2014, 08:39AM
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I really would like to know what Mact thinks of the coaching right now. He was coach for years and he's upstairs watching this fiasco every game. I hope he has enough balls the clean that bench when the Oilers finish with their worst record ever.

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#52 Walter Sobchak
January 17 2014, 09:31AM
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The Oilers can't possible go any slower!

The addition of Hendricks really showed the Oilers new found toughness, I especially like how Yakupov had his head rammed in by Cooke, then the Oilers did nothing.

The Oilers need players like, Kesller, Dubinsky, Hartnel, Ott, Clowe, skill veterans, strong and competitive.

Problem is the Oilers have nothing to trade with, zero.

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#53 Truth
January 17 2014, 09:37AM
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Two UFA goalies in Dubnyk and Scrivens.

Dubnyk wins the lottery and goes to play behind a defensive team where he will shine. He'll be making a few bucks in the off-season.

Scrivens impeccable stats as a backup in LA will be washed away behind the Oilers D. He'll go into FA with a sub 0.900 save %.

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#54 S cottV
January 17 2014, 10:02AM
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Oilers have to create conditions to shelter the fact that too many pucks are going in the back of our net.

It may be 3, 4 - even 5 years before the team has a legitimate back end. Guys like Nurse and maybe this years draft pick - will have to be part of the mix and they will take time to get there.

Sure - trades and ufa's may speed things up but development time will still be a big part of this dilemma.

The last thing the Oilers need right now, is continuance of their run and gun - offence first culture. It is an embarrassment. It over exposes the very area where the team is weakest. It hampers the goalie and d corps development process because there are so many bombs going off - these guys get shell shocked and a major dose of ptsd.

This team needs 3 years of Hitchcock like, Sutter like, Torts like, Maurice like - defense first influence, to at least keep things close - while our back end is under construction.

Eakins is not the guy. He is an inexperienced risk taking run and gun guy - who even wants to run and gun on defence for crying out loud. Under his leadership - the team looks so shakey - so unstable, its downright scary.

What is needed is a tough nuts and bolts veteran coach - who can bring some stability to this mess, by influencing (one way or another) our spoiled brat forwards to play 200 feet of hockey.

Its one thing to have the right philosophy for the times and its another thing to have the ability to influence the player group to do what you want them to do.

Eakins has neither the philosophy or the ability to influence because the players do not take him seriously.

Get someone with the right stuff, that will not be ignored - least of all, by a bunch of spoiled brat forwards...

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#55 Rama Lama
January 17 2014, 10:08AM
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S cottV wrote:

Oilers have to create conditions to shelter the fact that too many pucks are going in the back of our net.

It may be 3, 4 - even 5 years before the team has a legitimate back end. Guys like Nurse and maybe this years draft pick - will have to be part of the mix and they will take time to get there.

Sure - trades and ufa's may speed things up but development time will still be a big part of this dilemma.

The last thing the Oilers need right now, is continuance of their run and gun - offence first culture. It is an embarrassment. It over exposes the very area where the team is weakest. It hampers the goalie and d corps development process because there are so many bombs going off - these guys get shell shocked and a major dose of ptsd.

This team needs 3 years of Hitchcock like, Sutter like, Torts like, Maurice like - defense first influence, to at least keep things close - while our back end is under construction.

Eakins is not the guy. He is an inexperienced risk taking run and gun guy - who even wants to run and gun on defence for crying out loud. Under his leadership - the team looks so shakey - so unstable, its downright scary.

What is needed is a tough nuts and bolts veteran coach - who can bring some stability to this mess, by influencing (one way or another) our spoiled brat forwards to play 200 feet of hockey.

Its one thing to have the right philosophy for the times and its another thing to have the ability to influence the player group to do what you want them to do.

Eakins has neither the philosophy or the ability to influence because the players do not take him seriously.

Get someone with the right stuff, that will not be ignored - least of all, by a bunch of spoiled brat forwards...

Brent Sutter

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#56 fasteddy
January 17 2014, 10:08AM
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I find it easier to watch the team lose every game than to read some of these posts......hindsight is always 20/20, and all teams make mistakes on personnel. Try watching junior games on a regular basis and projecting the draft eligible kids; they are rarely the best players on their own teams, let alone no-brainer obvious selections. In my opinion the number one problem with this team is that the kids have had to carry the ball. On teams that are in the playoff hunt year after year, the young guys get worked in slowly. Once in a while a generational talent comes along and can change a teams' fortunes quickly, but that is certainly not the norm.

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#57 They're $hittie
January 17 2014, 10:39AM
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they're still $hitty

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#58 Puck JammeR!
January 17 2014, 10:59AM
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Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle both try to be the first one to wake up so they can be the one to cross off another day on their "Days Until Free Agency" calendar.

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#59 Serious Gord
January 17 2014, 11:53AM
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Without doubt the two best break-up songs ever:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NHOf3s70w-c

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp5Rdb9ncfM

Enjoy.

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#60 Dog Train
January 17 2014, 12:26PM
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I had to laugh when twice in the first period last night an Oilers defenseman ran into Scrivens. Welcome to the Oilers! Not to mention the mini shorthanded 2 on 0 we gave up or two players covering one guy behind the net while Pominville is allowed to cruise to the net wide open. Patrick Roy couldn't even play net for this sorry excuse of a team.

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#61 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 12:30PM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Players families should really be off limits for criticism, I even thought it was offside when it happened with Pronger. It's classless, gutless, childish, and most importantly, poor journalism. NHL players lead public lives I'll give you that, but criticism should be kept to their hockey playing abilities/attitudes in the locker room. Give the families some privacy and respect your professional boundaries douchbag!

Yeah but to cover up Pronger's infidelities with the smokescreen stories about how his wife hated the city and the weather is worse. It paints an entire city instead of just one person.

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#62 outdoorzguy
January 17 2014, 12:48PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You just proved why you shouldn't be a reporter.

The guy, Anthony Vasquez, is from Toronto not Edmonton. He is the online editor for their Sun Chain. He lives in TORONTO.

He isn't a reporter, he is an editor. He edits stories, he doesn't interview people or go find stories.

Feel free to critique people in the media, but don't look foolish and lump everyone into the same "media" pool. And next time you want to attack someone, or the entire "media" group at least be smart enough to know where the person resides....

I guess you kinda answered for me. I never knew the jerk was from Toronto. I would think that in order to become an Editor, one would have spent time in the trenches as a reporter. Maybe not? But the EDMONTON SUN ran the story. They didn't have to. Don't they have editors?

As for the media pool, especially in Edmonton I only consider one person real media and that's McKinnon. He asked a hard question once. I don't see anyone else asking anything tough. But I understand you wouldn't want to lose your pre-game meal privileges or your cushy stool on the catwalk. Yeah you had Lowe on your show last week but you let him off the hook. It was the one opportunity someone had to ask some of the questions the class 1 and class 2 fans are asking. But nope. No guts. I suppose now you'll get really mad at me because I disagree with you, just like you do to anyone who calls your show.

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#63 bazmagoo
January 17 2014, 01:02PM
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@Tikkanese

True but all of it is still none of our business. It should never have come out that Pronger wanted a trade, it should have been done quietly. Guess who get's the blame for that? #KLOWEMUSTGO

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#64 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 01:33PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

"Hendricks is a player I thought the Oilers needed to bring in last summer. I have no issue with his cap hit per year. The cap will continue to go up and the Oilers are not in a cap crunch. The issue is the term. I wonder what Hendricks will bring in year four."

This is wrong on many fronts:

1) Every dollar you overspend on your bottom pairing and fourth line is a dollar you cant spend on an important line. Top teams spend about 4% of thier cap space on the 4th line on average. In a $70M cap world, that's about $2.8M. This guy chews up $1.9M of it.

2) He is 32, the age where players of his type start to break down, and when they decline it tends to be rapid. Eric Belanger, anyone? But the Oilers took him on for 3 more years.

3) MacT himself said the team can't win with players on the ice where the best thing you could hope for is no one scores. This is Hendricks to a tee.

On MacT could take a situation where the worst probably outcome was the Oilers got no value from losing Dubnyk, and found a way to get negative value through a player that can't score (his offense in Washington came playing with Ovechkin and Ribeiro - what he was doing on the ice with those players is baffling, but he won't be playing with that calibre of player here), is paid way too much for his role, and it likely to crater long before his contract runs out.

Only the Oilers.

Way to know absolutely nothing about Hendricks the player. He brings elements badly lacking on the Oilers that more than make up for your offensive wishes for the 4th line.

He is nothing like Eric Belanger.

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#65 Valter
January 17 2014, 01:57PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Yet it's ok for MacTavish to fly to Sweden to watch one game of Klefbom and declare he's " seen enough to know"

It's ok to fly to mother Russia and declare that Grebeshkov still has game!

He can't board Katz private jet fly out for the day to see a coach he just told to take his summer break, that he will handle the finding of a co-coach for Krueger.

Instead, "screw it I found a new coach so I don't really need to fly because I'm firing him anyways"? This is fine with you?

VALTER VALTER, VALTER................!!!!!!!

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#66 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 02:11PM
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Kr55 wrote:

On pace for 57 points and the worst Oilers season of all time. There is nothing slow and steady about this season, we're at a complete halt and starting to tip backwards.

The only player that we got that apparently is hard to play against with any size is Gazdic, and he's not good at actual hockey. And we traded away Smid so we could have the softest D in the NHL.

Sorry to be a downer, but this team is not harder to play against compared to last season. The record reflects that. Also, how we are absolutely terrible against western teams compared to last year really leaves no room to defend MacT or Eakins. 13 games under .500 vs the west this season while being dominated in the vast majority of those games. Krueger had us 3 games under .500.

So Perron, Ference, Gordon or now Hendricks are not hard to play against?

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#67 Big red ginger snap
January 17 2014, 03:59PM
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This team is a train wreak and i dont see it getting back on the rails anytime soon but i watch and feel nothing

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#68 A-Mc
January 17 2014, 04:15PM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Just a thought. There seems to be more and more of the "stop screaming, these were small trades, no point in rushing things, wait til the offseason" commentary going around. And I have to say--waiting for the off-season, thinking that we can plug holes with FA's, is delusional. Given Scrivens less-than-thrilled reaction to coming to EDM, to Hendricks passing on more $ to go someplace other than EDM when he had a choice, should say a lot. FA's aren't going to come here. At least the ones who can get an offer from any other team. And the ones who can't get offers from other teams....do we really want to sign that? We can't afford to wait until our d prospects are hopefully ready, and we're not going to get any valuable FA's

The ONLY way to improve this team for the foreseeable future is via trades. And not like the Scrivens trade, for a guy who's here for 3 months then leaving town. These have to be big, bold, LT trades. Yes, we're going to have to get rid of at least one young stud, possibly two. Get over it. Identify the stud who's going to have the most trade value to other teams, then make a big trade. I would rather see us trade one of our studs, even if its RNH or Hall, and get back 2 or 3 solid pieces that we need. I refuse to listen to those who say that there are untouchables on this team. If by trading one player you fix 2+ holes at once, I say its a win for the team. Period.

Waiting until the off season doesn't necessarily mean building via only FA. You're right in that it'll be hard for edmonton to attract UFA's. Also, the UFA crop isn't very good right now

Teams that are in a playoff spot and/or are close, are reluctant to move significant pieces. Why fix what ain't broken, right? Those teams are looking to acquire depth with picks. I think we can both agree that the oilers dont need more picks. So if we want proven talent, the teams we're able to realistically pull from are other bottom feeders. These trades are more likely to happen at the trade deadline when there is more of a market and the return will be higher. The rest of the teams aren't willing to move anything until the season is over, ie: The Off Season.

If you want the doors open for all 29 other teams, the Off season is really the only time.

This is a timing thing, not a Free Agency thing.

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#69 TigerUnderGlass
January 17 2014, 04:22PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

If by good you mean, soft as kleenex and has no heart, then you are correct.

Belanger was an excellent hockey player until the day he signed with Edmonton.

I cannot believe people are happy to pay almost 2 million dollars a year to a guy in his 30's because he's large and sometimes fights. Have the Leafs taught us nothing?

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#70 -30-
January 17 2014, 08:24AM
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@ Jason, if you're gonna break up DO IT ON OILERS NATION!

KEVIN LOWE IT"S OVER!!!!

-30-

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#71 oilers1168
January 17 2014, 08:39AM
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MacT - Skype

Almost private and almost face to face.

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#72 TheSilentBang64
January 17 2014, 08:54AM
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Maybe they should Skype Kruger and ask him how to get the PP going.

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#73 K_Mart
January 17 2014, 09:16AM
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Just play Gordon for 60 mins/night, Trap, and pray for a 1-0 SO win every night. Why not.... WHY NOT

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#74 Lowe Expectations
January 17 2014, 09:30AM
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She probably found out the guy was an Oiler fan

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#75 Sketchy
January 17 2014, 09:44AM
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Dude, why did you have to tell all of oilernation about my breakup? I loved her!!!

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#76 Gbeat
January 17 2014, 10:26AM
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Hmmm..

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#77 Puck JammeR!
January 17 2014, 10:31AM
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RexHolez wrote:

Question: how long until this team goes from worst team in the league to "worst team in the history of the league?"

That's a legitimate question, and yet the man responsible for this situation is still in place??

I don't know, but we're definitely getting there.

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#78 outdoorzguy
January 17 2014, 10:43AM
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So it appears that the media (Anthony Vasquez-Peddie, Edmonton Sun) has driven a wedge into Scrivens...what, two days after we get him? Now we have to look for another goalie in the summer to replace him because of the "Warm" welcome he received. Maybe instead of going after the guys wife, he should have directed his angst at team management and the coaching staff. This organization has a free pass. They don't care what the fans say. The media are on a first name basis with everyone on the team. How long will they get away with this. Go after the guys wife. That's classy Edmonton media. No wonder nobody comes to play here.

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#79 emonkee
January 17 2014, 11:21AM
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Andrew wrote:

Most of Mac's moves have amounted to nothing more than nibbling at the edges if the real issues. That would be the top six pussies and the most gutless D in the league. I don't see how Petry and Schultz Sr can stay on this team period. I don't see any way they can find 4 D in the near term. Hall looks like Eakins has ripped his heart for the game right iut of his chest.

No one is going to give up a top 4D, especially as we inch toward the playoffs....I doubt MacT can do anything until the off season. To get a top 4D, we have to give up something, not sure what piece yet...

You can ride on Petry all you want, but he is, unfortunately, the best we have got. NSchultz will be gone for sure, either trade deadline or UFA if no taker.

It's pretty thin this year in the UFA pool for D.

Age

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#80 Rick Stroppel
January 17 2014, 12:26PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

You show class and treat the man with dignity and fly out to meet with him. MacT said coaching wasn't the problem then fires him after talking on the phone with Eakins.

Talk about bad karma.

CLASSY GUY

I heard an interview of Kreuger where he talked about the firing. He was in Switzerland, at home. His wife was in the next room. Krueger was asked how he reacted and he said something like "I was OK but my wife was swearing a blue streak". By now Krueger has probably figured out that he is well out of this endless cluster-fug.

Krueger is a classy guy, unlike those arrogant braggarts Lowe and MacTavish. Edmonton is a SMALL POND. You might be arrogant too if fans and media were pumping your tires FOR YEARS despite your obvious failure. Posters on this site continue to praise MacTavish. Using big words (often I appropriately) does not make you an intelligent person. Somebody please tell me what MacTavish has accomplished in the last seven years. How many decades do you propose to give him to turn the team around?

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#81 loweblows
January 17 2014, 12:38PM
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MacT said he hired Billy Moores to help coach the coaches. Two questions. Does that make Billy Moores the head coach? Secondly, does any other franchise in pro sports have a coaching coach? Anybody? Or is this only in the bizzaro world of Oiler management?

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#82 Dave
January 17 2014, 12:48PM
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Gregor is getting a little crabby in his responses.

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#83 MWA1991
January 17 2014, 01:06PM
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Why is no one addressing the fact that he's giving away all the Oil's upcoming draft picks with his tinckering? I read somewhere where now only have the first round pick out of the top 100+ picks? 2,3, and 4th are gone? But got a 4th back on the Brown trade which will be like a 5th. Edmonton is not Detroit. If we can't trade for the studs we need, and we need to draft them, wouldn't it be wise to stockpile picks instead of giving them all away?

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#84 gcw_rocks
January 17 2014, 01:26PM
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"Hendricks is a player I thought the Oilers needed to bring in last summer. I have no issue with his cap hit per year. The cap will continue to go up and the Oilers are not in a cap crunch. The issue is the term. I wonder what Hendricks will bring in year four."

This is wrong on many fronts:

1) Every dollar you overspend on your bottom pairing and fourth line is a dollar you cant spend on an important line. Top teams spend about 4% of thier cap space on the 4th line on average. In a $70M cap world, that's about $2.8M. This guy chews up $1.9M of it.

2) He is 32, the age where players of his type start to break down, and when they decline it tends to be rapid. Eric Belanger, anyone? But the Oilers took him on for 3 more years.

3) MacT himself said the team can't win with players on the ice where the best thing you could hope for is no one scores. This is Hendricks to a tee.

On MacT could take a situation where the worst probably outcome was the Oilers got no value from losing Dubnyk, and found a way to get negative value through a player that can't score (his offense in Washington came playing with Ovechkin and Ribeiro - what he was doing on the ice with those players is baffling, but he won't be playing with that calibre of player here), is paid way too much for his role, and it likely to crater long before his contract runs out.

Only the Oilers.

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#85 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 01:30PM
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MWA1991 wrote:

Why is no one addressing the fact that he's giving away all the Oil's upcoming draft picks with his tinckering? I read somewhere where now only have the first round pick out of the top 100+ picks? 2,3, and 4th are gone? But got a 4th back on the Brown trade which will be like a 5th. Edmonton is not Detroit. If we can't trade for the studs we need, and we need to draft them, wouldn't it be wise to stockpile picks instead of giving them all away?

I think everyone would agree the 2nd rounder + PRV for Perron was an absolute steal.

3rd round and later have like 10% and less odds of becoming regular NHL'ers, let alone good players. We also have tons of prospects now and not enough NHL'ers. I am all for the trading away of these low chance picks for NHL'ers.

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#86 Kr55
January 17 2014, 01:38PM
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On pace for 57 points and the worst Oilers season of all time. There is nothing slow and steady about this season, we're at a complete halt and starting to tip backwards.

The only player that we got that apparently is hard to play against with any size is Gazdic, and he's not good at actual hockey. And we traded away Smid so we could have the softest D in the NHL.

Sorry to be a downer, but this team is not harder to play against compared to last season. The record reflects that. Also, how we are absolutely terrible against western teams compared to last year really leaves no room to defend MacT or Eakins. 13 games under .500 vs the west this season while being dominated in the vast majority of those games. Krueger had us 3 games under .500.

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#87 Still Hopin
January 17 2014, 01:55PM
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Come on that is not the problem.

The brain trust at the top is not smart enough. Edmonton Media needs to recognize that Lowe and Mac-T are NOT SMART Hockey minds.

They were journey man ex-players, that is it. Even the best player in the world couldn't coach in Phoenix.

For the past 14 years during Lowe's reign, the Oilers have had the WORST record in the NHL. That is not disputable. It is a fact.

You could take someone who knows nothing about hockey and give them 14 years, they will do at least as well as Lowe. Statistically speaking, it would be very highly improbable to do this bad. That does not say that individual is good, but what is does say is Lowe is a REALLY REALLY BAD hockey executive. In fact, he may be the worst in history (someone look it up).

So would a player want to play with a management team that has produced the worse team over 14 years. NO WAY. That is the problem. GET rid of Lowe and Mac T. Time for new management with a plan and understanding of what it takes to make a good team. Enough of the journey man hockey dribble.

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#88 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 02:08PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
He is nothing like Eric Belanger.

If by this you mean, "he has never been as good as Belanger had been his entire career before coming to Edmonton," you are correct.

If by good you mean, soft as kleenex and has no heart, then you are correct.

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#89 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 02:40PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Positive shot differential at even strength? Nope.

Moderate offence? Nope.

Value contract? Nope.

What are these elements that you speak of?

Oh let's see.

Little things called:

compete level

plays with size

has been known to stick up for teammates

even drops the gloves once in a while... All the Gazdic haters should be rejoicing

You know, things everyone and their dog has been asking for the Oilers to get more of in the top 6, bottom 6 and on defense. He just happens to be a bottom 6 that we have for up to 3.5 years for a failed goalie that was not going to be re-signed in the summer.

He's also more of a winger than a center but is adept at winning faceoffs(about the only thing he shares with Belanger) as well as being a useful penalty killer.

Not every trade can be a David Perron. He's still a big upgrade over Will Acton, Eric Belanger, Lennart Pettrel and even Anton Lander at this point. Why does everyone have to be such "Negative Nancy's" about every little transaction?

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#90 D-Unit
January 17 2014, 03:13PM
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S cottV wrote:

Oilers have to create conditions to shelter the fact that too many pucks are going in the back of our net.

It may be 3, 4 - even 5 years before the team has a legitimate back end. Guys like Nurse and maybe this years draft pick - will have to be part of the mix and they will take time to get there.

Sure - trades and ufa's may speed things up but development time will still be a big part of this dilemma.

The last thing the Oilers need right now, is continuance of their run and gun - offence first culture. It is an embarrassment. It over exposes the very area where the team is weakest. It hampers the goalie and d corps development process because there are so many bombs going off - these guys get shell shocked and a major dose of ptsd.

This team needs 3 years of Hitchcock like, Sutter like, Torts like, Maurice like - defense first influence, to at least keep things close - while our back end is under construction.

Eakins is not the guy. He is an inexperienced risk taking run and gun guy - who even wants to run and gun on defence for crying out loud. Under his leadership - the team looks so shakey - so unstable, its downright scary.

What is needed is a tough nuts and bolts veteran coach - who can bring some stability to this mess, by influencing (one way or another) our spoiled brat forwards to play 200 feet of hockey.

Its one thing to have the right philosophy for the times and its another thing to have the ability to influence the player group to do what you want them to do.

Eakins has neither the philosophy or the ability to influence because the players do not take him seriously.

Get someone with the right stuff, that will not be ignored - least of all, by a bunch of spoiled brat forwards...

So, what you are saying is the Oilers need a coach who will do to all the "talent" what Eakins was trying to do with Yak. Make Yak defensively accountable. Yet, it seems 99% of the people on here and around Edmonton said Yak doesn't need defence and Eakins was ruining Yak.

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#91 Pokey
January 17 2014, 03:55PM
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Oilers are 3 pts ahead of Buffalo. Buffalo have 4 games in hand. I predict that the Oil will fall off the edge of the planet and could easily end up 30th overall.

Doesn't that make us all so proud of our ownership and management.

What's with this confidence B.S. being tossed around by apologists like Stauffer and Lowetide.

What has confidence got to do with putting both hands on your stick and battling with your check in front of the net. It has nothing to do with confidence and playing with some semblance of respect for yourself, your team-mates and the fans.

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#92 Kr55
January 17 2014, 04:29PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Belanger was an excellent hockey player until the day he signed with Edmonton.

I cannot believe people are happy to pay almost 2 million dollars a year to a guy in his 30's because he's large and sometimes fights. Have the Leafs taught us nothing?

I think they've taught the people in charge too much. I think we are actually trying to model our team after the leafs. Look at how pleased MacT and Eakins are that Hall's corsi stats are in the toilet just because he's riding a wave of luck playing Eakins' awesome game plan. We went after Hendricks and Clarkson for MORE than what they took eventually from Nashville and Toronto. It's crazy to think this team can sink lower than it already has, but I think there is still more room to fall if that's how LoweT want this team run.

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#93 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 05:27PM
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I LOVE the mindless trolls that come with the argument "have you ever played?" Like that troglodyte zarny and his pals...

You do know Lowe and MacT played the game. How's that working out for them right now?.... Thought so.

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#94 corky
January 17 2014, 07:39PM
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I find it crazy people are ready to dump Yak already. Jeez, give the guy a reasonable chance.

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#95 Walter Sobchak
January 17 2014, 07:51PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I can't believe anyone who hates Belanger so much is suddenly excited at the idea of trading for a 32 year old 4th liner with a 4 year deal at 1.85M.

Almost 33, so ya, 38 when his contract expires for a guy who on "most nights will be a non-factor".

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#96 jim
January 17 2014, 09:14PM
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i'd rather get dumped in person at starbucks than fired over skype

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#97 Josh Oiler
January 17 2014, 11:28PM
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YAK IS AND WILL BE THE BEST OILERS -BAR NONE

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#98 S cottV
January 17 2014, 11:29PM
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D-Unit wrote:

I would have traded Yak to Siberia for a bag of ice the day he said something to the effect he doesn't want to back check or play any D.

When the best players in the world understand that the D zone needs to be part of their game there is no excuse for a guy like Yak saying he doesn't need to.

Too bad for Yak there is no hockey equivalent to the Harlem Globe Trotters.

He could be the star of the show and beat those Generals every night.

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#99 Andrew
January 18 2014, 05:20AM
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I wonder how long it will take for the 'sheep' to wake up and stop buying seasons tickets. If the team does mail it in as they have done in the past and the situation gets even worse I can't imagine anyone plopping down a big wad of cash for this kind of disfunctional product. How can Oiler hockey be considered real entertainment for the dollars being laid out?

I wouldn't be surprised if the Oil traded places with OKC and we may not see many wins but I'd bet we would see a better effort night in and night out. I personally think Todd Nelson does a better of getting the most out of the talent he has been given to work with.

My bet is Eakins sees Yakupov as a young inexperienced player who he has turned into his lightning rod to deflect attention away from his own inexperience and incompetence.

Surely the 'Peter Principle' is still required for MBA candidates. It certainly should be readily available to Katz and all Oiler executives. Can you even read Mac?

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#100 vetinari
January 17 2014, 08:18AM
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I agree that we need a better mix and balance of players but we stubbornly are trying to re-create the Flyers, or Chicago, or the Maple Leafs without success.

Basically, play to your team's strengths. Krueger seemed to do that better than Eakins. We have a small, young team so use your speed to drive the zone and take control of the centre of the ice for possible one-timers, dekes and shots off the rush-- be content with being outshot if you could make your chances count. Not ideal but a necessary evil given the type of team that we had. Yes, they needed to be better defensively, and they needed bigger bodies in some parts of the lineup, but at least they were heading in the right direction.

Eakins is coaching a small team to try and play like a big, physical team, and you can see our results. Yes, we're hitting more and yes, we're blocking more and yes, we have reduced the shots against by a bit, but the offensive pop is gone from our game, the players look like they are on a death march, and our defence is in shambles-- a young Marty Broduer couldn't backstop this team to success. So why do we try the same tactics over and over if they are not successful?

We seem to be assembling the team that Eakins wants to coach and not use the team that we have properly (which, I would argue, Krueger did with better success).

As for the breakup--- that was cold! In a public place-- what's a guy to do. The only thing worse is if the staff suddenly turned into a Glee flashmob and helped her breakup with him in song--

"We're so happy to see you, but sad to say, she's going to dump your a$$ today!" [jazz hands...]

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